Scenes Of Queens: The Van Wyck Garbageway

This scene takes place on the Jamaica/South Richmond Hill border on the east service road of the Van Wyck Expressway.

Queens Chronicle

Illegal trash piles have been growing in South Ozone Park, and with them, residents’ frustration.

Aracelia Cook of the 149th Street South Ozone Park Civic Association recently documented several of the chronic illegal dumping spots in the neighborhood, where 311 complaints haven’t stopped trash from piling up for three weeks.

“You have rats out there, raccoons out there, rodents — all these things. And that’s not to talk about the smell,” Cook told the Chronicle on Friday.

Cook reached out to the Chronicle after trying to work with the Department of Sanitation. There were two areas of concern for her — one at a residential intersection, and another along the Van Wyck Expressway service road in between Rockaway Boulevard and Conduit Avenue.

At the residential location, on the southeast side of 146th Street and Rockaway Boulevard, a large trash pile containing tires and crates sat on the sidewalk as of last Friday.

A 311 log from July 7 shows that a complaint had been “investigated and addressed,” but the trash remained there for weeks after, Cook said.

The mess at that intersection has been a chronic problem for months. Google street views from November 2020 captured a similarly sized heap sitting on the intersection.

After the Chronicle reached out to Sanitation, the agency cleaned it up over the weekend, but by Monday afternoon Cook said more trash had already begun to pile up again.

That is an understatement. Behold, like the cherry blossoms at the Bronx Botanical Garden, every week detritus is in full bloom in the dirty Southside Queens…

Someone couldn’t find a place to discard these windshields, but I can understand the logic leaving them on the street. In due time, cars will roll over them and the glass will be grounded naturally into the asphalt.

That’s how ecology works around here. Follow the science.

The Van Wyck Garbageway also comes with amenities like this cushy living room set, providing a break for curious immersion tourists.

Which makes the sight of daily traffic commutes and the occasional illegal dirtbike and ATV caravan evoke a feeling of trainspotting.

Remember to hold your nose.

Here are the ruins of a basement studio apartment.

This is a shitty way to honor the memory of Jaki Byrad, who was a seminal and influential jazz musician who played with Charlie Mingus and many other iconic jazz legends. What’s evident is that this exhibition of crass pollution and city indifference is a sad allegory for his career as a composer and solo artist and ultimately how he tragically died.

As a leader, Byard recorded a string of albums for the Prestige label during the 1960s. Some of these albums included Richard Davis on bass and Alan Dawson on drums, a trio combination described by critic Gary Giddins as “the most commanding rhythm section of the ’60s, excepting the Hancock-Carter-Williams trio in Miles Davis’s band”, although it existed only for recordings. One such album was Jaki Byard with Strings!, a sextet recording that featured Byard’s composing and arranging: on “Cat’s Cradle Conference Rag”, each of five musicians “play five standards based on similar harmonies simultaneously”.A further example of Byard’s sometimes unusual approach to composition is the title track from Out Front!, which he created by thinking of fellow pianist Herbie Nichols’ touch at the keyboard. Popularity with jazz critics did not translate into wider success: a Washington Post review of his final Prestige album, from 1969, remarked that it was by “a man who has been largely ignored outside the inner circles”. Giddins also commented in the 1970s on the lack of attention that Byard had received, and stated that the pianist’s recordings from 1960 to 1972 “are dazzling in scope, and for his ability to make the most of limited situations”. Following his time with Prestige, Byard had more solo performances, in part because of his affection for musical partners he had become close to but who had then died.

Byard died in his home in Hollis, Queens, New York City, of a gunshot wound on February 11, 1999. He was shot once in the head. The police reported that Byard’s family, with whom he shared the house, last saw him at 6 pm, that he was killed around 10 pm, that there “were no signs of robbery, forced entry or a struggle”, and that no weapon was found. The death was soon declared to be a homicide, but the circumstances surrounding it have not been determined, and the case remains unsolved.

Let this show that street re-naming is the original virtue signalling.

The Garbageway concludes at Atlantic Avenue, bordering Richmond Hill and Jamaica and the majestic high speed rail pillar of the JFK express train, buoyed by circle of discarded clothing and shopping carts…

Oh wait, this isn’t discarded and not ordinary garbage. People live over here and that’s all what they have left to their names. It’s unsightly and probably smells like hell, but it’s 100 times safer than being forced to live in one of Mayor de Blasio’s and Stephen Banks congregate decrepit, health hazard and crime ridden homeless shelters.

This is only just a segment of the Van Wyck Garbageway, but as the Queens Chronicle noted above it’s the most recognizable for frustrated residents and recidivist litterbugs. It might get cleaned up eventually, but garbage will continue to re-materialize as long as the grass keeps growing and the earth keeps spinning on it’s axis and as long as Southside Queens streets continue to be the city’s linear dumpsters.

So it goes..

 

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